Local businesses provide Lurgan school with 50 laptops for students

  • Local businesses with links to St Ronan’s College have provided funding to buy 50 laptops to help pupils at the Lurgan school with digital study.

    IT company CANCOM, sportswear manufacturer O’Neill’s, McKeagney Pharmacy, and Hannon Transport collectively provided £12,000 to buy the computers to help widen access to learning whilst students are not able to attend school.

    Research has shown that high numbers of pupils in schools in the UK and Ireland still don’t have access to devices to ensure they can keep learning.

    Data from the ONS in 2019 detailed that despite how the number of people who can’t or don’t use the internet has declined in general since 2012, Northern Ireland continues to have the highest proportion of non-internet users across the UK, at 14.2%.

    A report released at the end of June 2020 by the UK Education and Training Inspectorate suggested as many as half of the pupils in some post-primary schools didn't take part on the remote learning programmes offered by the school.

    RELATED: Asda provides 170 Dell laptops to schools across NI to help tackle digital exclusion

    There are also concerns that lockdowns widen the attainment gap between pupils from well-off and less well-off backgrounds as a result.

    Fiona Kane, Principal of St Ronan’s said: “Access to technology is essential for pupils to continue learning from home, but not all households can readily provide that.

    "Perhaps there are two or three children of school age at home and the family only has one computer. So, we are very grateful to the local businesses for their support, which will play an important role in helping widen access to learning for students at St Ronan’s.”

    Patrick McAliskey, Strategic Adviser at CANCOM, said: “If students don’t have a computer, they don’t have the means to study from home. So, I want to thank the businesses that have supported this initiative. It has the potential to make a real difference to the educational outcomes of pupils.”

    RELATED: Data shows lockdown deprivation causes domino distress on NI's children

    Source: Written from press release

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